Synopsis:

Welcome to week 22 of the Crushing it in Real Estate Podcast! This week we have Diana George who is absolutely killing it in the Bay Area as a Real Estate investor! Diana specializes with fix and flips reaching 7 figures in profits! Join us this week as we deep dive with her on what it takes to reach that level! Please Enjoy!

Website: dgdesigngroup.com

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Diana George

Bryan: [00:00:00] Hey guys, welcome to another week of crushing it in real estate. This week, we have a very special guest. Her name is Diana George. Diana is a seven-figure investor in the Bay area that focuses on luxury houses and multi-units. Diana, welcome to the show. 

Diana: [00:00:22] Thank you for having me. 

Bryan: [00:00:23] Awesome. Really happy to have you. So Diana, can you walk us through your real estate story? How’d you got started? 

Diana: [00:00:31] Yeah, so I, I got started in 2003, which feels like a lifetime, but I was, um, geez, how old was I then? Uh, I’ve been in the industry for a shoot 

Bryan: [00:00:49] Almost 16 years? 

Diana: [00:00:50] Yeah, I’m 42 now. So yeah. Um, so yeah, wild and, um, so anyway, Yeah, 16 years. So I got a gun into loans, actually. It was during a time where everyone was doing loans and basically all you needed was a pulse and they’d give you a loan. And I, then I wasn’t, um, of course, the subprime happened in 2008, we had a massive crash and I lost everything. I lost my house. I just, yeah, it was, it was awful. Um, and I had this mindset of like, I was, it was always going to be like this. So it was a major… it was crushing, but it was good. Cause I truly learned the value of time and money because I was at the time I was 27, I was, you know, I was really, I started younger than that, but when I was making a lot of money, I was about 27 and the crash happened and then it was, it was like every brokerage at the time, I think California at 50 brokerages closing a day. And I remember thinking. You know, I should get into real estate because I want to be a real estate investor. That’s always been a passion of mine. So I got into real estate and it was, I got my broker’s license and I saw a job to work at this private equity group that had a real estate channel. And I started with them and I actually started becoming more of an analyst with them. And so I started analyzing properties, which was great. Cause it taught me the side of the industry, which I think is absolutely fundamental and starts a great foundation for, you know, I think yourself into correct, you know, proper rehabs with strong ROI.

It felt from there that kind of launch, um, I launched a brokerage. I saw Twitter coming into San Francisco back in 2011. And my thought was I saw how much I saw the values and those areas just go up overnight. Then you saw like Noe Valley and all these neighborhoods with them. The tech buses and you saw those areas exploding.

So I came to Oakland with the thought that these people are going to get priced out and I’ve never understood why Oakland wasn’t more amazing than what I mean. I think Oakland’s amazing. I’ve been there for 15 years. I’ve been here for 15 years now, but it’s always blown my mind that it hasn’t been more, you know, and sure enough, now it’s almost to the point where you’re like, okay guys, stop coming into Oakland, go away.

Yeah, so, but what’s great is, you know, I, I started a brokerage called Walt Realty group. I had up to 32 agents at one point. Um, I went over, I sold, it, went over to century 21 in century 21 real estate Alliance, which is great. Uh, they’re based out of San Francisco. They have about 10 offices now spanning over the whole Bay area. And, uh, they’ve been really great about letting me have this flexibility with my investment company. And so I’ve done between. You know, the private equity group in my own, my, on my own, I’ve done nearly, you know, I’ve done a little over 60 projects with the private equity group. I probably did about 30 to 40 projects.

So for 

Bryan: [00:04:05] So roughly 90-100.

Diana: [00:04:08] About, yeah. So that’s quite a few projects. So, um, I love, I love this aspect of it. I love this part of the job is, um, you know, you know, improving neighborhoods and, um, improving homes and. You know, watching families move in or having neighbors walk up to you and say, you know, thank you. And so it’s a good feeling. It’s also nice to take an ugly home and just make it gorgeous. Definitely. 

Bryan: [00:04:35] I think you bring up a lot of good points too. I mean, like you mentioned before, you built good fundamentals, but understanding the numbers. I think that’s the thing that most investors always kinda underestimate. It’s the numbers they’re like, I kind of work out. They’re very optimistic about it. Well, fundamentally, there’s a lot more to numbers than what you see, you know, you can always be subject to changing. So I think you bring up a really good point with that part. I think the also good point, good point you brought out was your foresight. My, you saw like appreciation come up with all these tech companies come in, you know, and you were predicting like different markets and different areas to explode. So that’s, that’s the one thing that makes you successful. Is that vision that you have in that area? Like, it gives you that insight to like, Hey, we’ve got to go into this area because we’re supported by all these facts going forward. You know? 

Diana: [00:05:26] Absolutel. San Francisco is gonna be the most expensive city in our country. 

Bryan: [00:05:31] I know. Right? 

Diana: [00:05:33] I mean, I mean, I did not see that coming. I always thought it was New York by a landslide that’s changed. And apparently now San Jose is the most expensive. 

Bryan: [00:05:43] Exactly, the immediate income. There is like, I think what is it you make less than six figures or like probably line and below. 

Diana: [00:05:52] I know it’s so sad.

I was thinking like a hundred and K is like considered. Yeah. Like, 

Bryan: [00:05:58] yeah, 

Diana: [00:05:59] it’s crazy. 

Bryan: [00:06:02] I think it’s pretty funny too, because we also have the same mindset. The reason why I moved to Oakland, because I might do, Oakland’s going to blow up. Yeah. I have to be here and flip as many houses as I can.

Diana: [00:06:17] I know. And now it’s to the point where it’s like everyone and their grandmother jumped in and he can’t find a deal to stay here. I mean, they get pitched maybe six, seven deals a day. And a lot of times I’m like, Nope, Nope, Nope, no. Um, it’s hard. It’s really hard. And now I’ve kind of, you know, I think I shifted my strategy was luxury and multifamily because when I looked at the luxury market back in the crash was doing the analytics of where the market was at that time, you look at the charts, the wealthy neighborhoods took a five to 6% hit. And then the second biggest hit was 17%. And that was San Francisco’s condo market. Um, but the average in California at that time was 35 to 40% depending on where you were at and then stopped and of course, when I think. About 50, they bankrupted. So yeah, I mean, it’s good to kind of look at analytics of a worst case scenario and then luxury took a less hit.

It’s funny because a lot of investors out there they’re so funny. I don’t know where they get these ideas, but they’re like, Oh, the luxury market, I would never invest in a luxury market.

And I’m like, why? There’s no reasoning behind it? They just, they just talk like, have you ever looked at the numbers? Are you looking at the charts? He was at the analytics to see how quickly it came back and with multi-units obviously, you know, it’s, it’s the rebound, there is great because, you know, God forbid, if you have a, you know, you have a 10 unit and four people in your unit lose their jobs, you still have six people paying your mortgage.

Bryan: [00:07:56] yeah, I liked that. I liked that approach that you have, that you have to it’s actually, the second time I heard that the first time was when I was sitting at a table, eating lunch with Scott Trench, CEO of BiggerPockets. Um, yeah, so he actually came out with it. Well, I was eating lunch with him. We’re exchanging ideas. He was like, it’s always good to buy it in the best area of any market, you know? And he pushed for it and he pushed it one more step and he’s like, so it’s good to buy in the best area of the cheapest market. Because when he catches me crushes, everyone moves in the best area. And that’s the best area to do your multifamily or flipping because, you know, obviously when she hits a family, you want to be in the best area.

Diana: [00:08:39] Absolutely. 

Bryan: [00:08:41] Yeah. So it is. 

Diana: [00:08:43] Yeah, because you know, I remember in 2013. I had an investor that was just buying up East Oakland. And I remember thinking, Oh, he’s still, I mean, he’s so back then people get, she now has no idea how bad it was back then. 

Bryan: [00:09:00] Yeah. 

Diana: [00:09:03] I mean, I was, I lived in Oakland at a time where like the, the nicer neighborhoods, people were getting mugged at night, you know? I mean, now that’s unheard of, but back then that wasn’t, um, he was just finding a piece of Oakland, like hotcakes. 

Bryan: [00:09:17] He’s wealthy now. 

Diana: [00:09:19] Yeah, because Oakland has the largest appreciation in the last 10 years. They had 168% appreciation.

Bryan: [00:09:26] Holy moly. 

Diana: [00:09:28] Yeah. It’s wild. So I agree with the best neighborhood, but sometimes the up and coming ones are pretty spectacular too. Cause they have such an upswing, but you just have to be smart about 

Bryan: [00:09:38] It also goes back to knowing your market, you know, like how, what are you doing your market. Yeah. Yeah. I feel in the safer line, you don’t understand the market too welll. You want to invest in nicer areas, you know?

Diana: [00:09:51] Yeah. Yeah. You know, what we do is it’s risk and there’s always going to be a risk. Yeah. But how calculated are we and how, and how much knowledge do we have behind that risk? So he’s what makes the difference, because a lot of, some of these investors, like a lot of the newer ones, they’re such, they’re really sweet, but you know, they’ll say things like. Oh, well, you know, in six months, the market’s gonna appreciate it. I’m gonna make X amount of dollars. Yeah. Like you just can’t, you kick off a future ARV. Like that just doesn’t work the way that it works. But that to me is like, what I call, you know, very optimistic. 

Bryan: [00:10:31] But at the same time, you have the focus back on the fundamentals, you know, but at the same time, you have to understand that you live, you yourself has been through a crash, you know?

So you’ve seen the worst of things. Whereas, I feel like a lot of investors nowadays are very optimistic because let’s face it. Like we haven’t seen one yet, you know, knock on wood. Hopefully don’t see one, see one thought that again, but we’re going to see a downtown, you know, with, 

Diana: [00:10:54] well, I mean, it’s funny. Because like this time, last year we had a major law in the market and everyone was running their hair on fire. And this year we’re having the same kind of law, but I’m talking to a lot of real estate agents in Oakland and San Francisco. We’re still getting one to two offers on a property. We’re sort of getting eight to 10 offers, but there’s still, there’s still offers coming in.

There are still people buying. There’s still that power there. And the, you know, obviously they dropped the interest rates, but it’s just funny to me because you know, people are like, I don’t think we’re going to come out of this. And like, I hear this every single year. 

Bryan: [00:11:31] So it was around this time too. 

Diana: [00:11:34] I know it’s always around this time. If you look at it, The economy’s actually doing really well. Like the last economic report that came out, the economy’s doing actually pretty well. The stock market’s doing pretty well. Um, I mean the Bay area is having a little bit of a wall, but compared to other markets, we’re still on fire. I mean, we are, if you looked at us eight years ago and you’re like, yeah, well you’re receiving one to two offers a house. People would have been like what? That’s amazing. So it’s the fact that we’re so used to seeing, you know, 80 people at an open house, you know, 10 offers. I mean, that’s just not going to happen consistently over a year. It’s just not, 

Bryan: [00:12:12] I think you also brought up a really good point for our listeners too, especially those in the Bay area.

I think that as you mentioned, like the stock market is doing well. I went to Neil Balboa’s presentation as a multifamily presentation, and he mentioned a really strong point. It’s like the Bay area purchasing confidence is very tied to how the stock market is doing. Mainly because a lot of investors in the Bay area are really well educated and well invested that it’s the stock market is doing well.

What’s the, what’s the first thing they’re gonna undermine. They’re gonna cash out and buy houses. You know? So Bay area, in particular, is very, very tied to the stock market and how it performs if the market, the stock market like the is a little bit, then people are not even buying the houses, you know, 

Diana: [00:12:59] That’s a great point. Yeah, absolutely. 

Bryan: [00:13:02] That’s probably the best point my girlfriend’s presentation was like, Oh yeah. That makes more sense. 

Diana: [00:13:07] That’s true. Cause I mean, he, I mean, he’s absolutely right. The Bay area does have a lot of savvy, intelligent buyers and, you know, um, I think that’s why a lot of us who do rehab homes, we go out of our way to do our due diligence and you know, pull, permit, get inspectors in there, you know, finalize your inspections. So it’s because, yeah, you’re not, these are, these are really savvy buyers. And now, you know, now they’re savvy buyers buying a million-dollar house with 1200 square feet.

Bryan: [00:13:41] So no times have changed. So if we took all right, so now that we change gears a little bit, can you kind of walk us through how you find your deals and yeah, just walk us through how, how, how do you source your deals? And maybe you can give us an example of one of the projects you did recently, what you learn when well, especially during this type of market, you know, cause I know for sure if I asked you like seven months ago, your answer to be completely different, but as we both see the market is slowing down a little bit.

So what is your new strategy like? 

Diana: [00:14:14] I usually have the same consistent strategy with the chairs. I have a group of realtors. I work with that. I trust they usually pitch me deals. And if it’s, if it’s good, I go for it. You know, sometimes it’s on market sometimes off-market, I’m not one of those people who are like, Oh, it’s on the MLS. I’m not going to go for it. Because again, I’m not dictated by the numbers. And so if the numbers, even if it’s on the MLS, I’m 70% of my deals. Have been off-market and their, excuse me, 70% have been on the MLS 30% have been off-market. So believe it or not, I find a lot of great deals on the MLS.

Sometimes, you know, the best deals you’ll find are right. They’re out of area agents. Those are some of the best deals I always find. Um, a lot of times agents pitch me off-market deals because it’s a friend or, you know, um, and I’m very honest when I speak with them, I say, listen, I’m not going to give you the best deal on your house, on the market in a way better deal, because I know I need to make money on this. So for those reasons, I’m probably going to offer a 150 K license. If you went on the market and you know, they appreciate that. And sometimes I don’t get the deal because I’m very straight up with them. And other times, They’ll say, no, we just want to go non-contingent for 10 days close all cash and just close this with you. So that’s how a lot of times I pick up deals. It’s just very aggressive terms. 

Bryan: [00:15:48] I like that a lot too. I mean, also one thing to note as well is that a lot of people would always put you off-market deals, but just because they’re off-market doesn’t mean they’re good, you know.

Diana: [00:15:58] And a lot of times off-market is terrible. Cause you know, who knows how that yeah. Um, it’s so funny. I’ll never forget this one day. I was just, I was cracking up, this guy pitches me this fixture in Santa Fe and he goes, um, yeah, you know, um, I can get it for you for 1.4. And I was like, all right, let me run the numbers. You know, two hours later, another guy teaches me the same house for 1.6.

Bryan: [00:16:28] I think I saw that deal. 

Diana: [00:16:31] My way to that sounds really familiar. I wrote back and I’m like, yeah, I was polite about it, but I’m like, Hey, Hey dude, um, what’s up with the 200 K price increase? And he’s like, what do you mean? I’m like, well, you know, this other agent just pitched this for one four. They never wrote back like, Oh, I mean, yeah. Some of these wholesalers are a little off the charts, greedy nowadays they like to leave no meat on the bone. So I don’t, I don’t work with wholesalers anymore. I used to a lot, not anymore. It’s just, I feel like the game of wholesaling is changing. Yeah. There used to be some integrity and some fairness behind it, and now it’s just ridiculous. And, you know, a lot of them are manipulating cops to look a certain way and then go run the first yourself. You’re like, Oh, come on. There’ve been a lot of people out there who don’t do their, you know, their D and D and get shot in the foot. Um, but yeah, generally, and then I hunt for my own deals, I’ll go on MLS or I’ll go online and I’ll, I tend to go for the least expensive home in wealthy neighborhoods. 

Bryan: [00:17:43] That’s a great strategy. 

Diana: [00:17:45] Yeah. And if it makes sense, I go for it and if it doesn’t, then I just leave it alone. But yeah. 

Bryan: [00:17:51] Wow. That’s… 

Diana: [00:17:52] That’s how I found the Hillsborough project. 

Bryan: [00:17:54] Wow. You walk us through the project Hillsborough.

Diana: [00:17:58] Yeah. We’re actually selling it. Cause I’m going through a divorce right now. Oh no, no. It’s okay. No, it’s all good. It’s all good. But, um, basically it’s um, I got it. We got it to a shovel ready point. And so, you know, my partner has a really strong background in architecture, meaning we got to a shovel ready point. It took a lot of time because dealing with these more affluent, you’re dealing with towns and you’re presenting, it’s not just you go bringing your architectural plans and your structural engineering plans and you get it stamped. And you know, you pick up your permits and now you’re like literally presenting to people and neighbors and you know, the people of the town. Um, and so, you know, we got it to a point where it’s shovel ready now we’re selling it. But, um, yeah, but that was, I mean, it’s still pretty good considering like, uh, you know, we got it to that point. We have everything. So we’re selling it as a package now to investors, but that would have been a really fun project to do.

Um, And then on my other projects, like right now I have a six-unit that I’m working on. And then I have a project in the Oakland Hills that I’m working on. And then I have other B T. So I also work on the retail side where I do consulting and I come in with my whole team of architects, structural contracting, and I’ll redo someone’s high-end home, and I get a percentage. So I do that as well. So I have one, I have one in Orlando right now. Um, potentially one in, um, Sausalito and then I’m doing another one in, um, uh, gosh, I’m blanking. I’m sorry. Uh, another one in the Oakland Hills. 

Bryan: [00:19:37] Okay. Well, I mean, since you are specializing in working with so many luxury homes, I mean, I hear my fair share of stories. We’re working on luxury homes, especially in the Bay area. Um, I know for a fact that some buyers, you know, they come from a very extensive background, me like CTOs CEO, and they, they were, they were totally nitpicky and tried to create a lawsuit against yours, your fixtures essentially. Right.

Diana: [00:20:05] Oh yeah, I’ve experienced. I’m experiencing it. Yeah. Yeah. I see. That’s why I do everything by the book. So, but the sad thing about California is they let people come after you for frivolous lawsuits. 

Bryan: [00:20:17] I agree. Yeah. Especially in the bags, I see a lot and he’s like, they want to settle for some ridiculous amounts too, like in the luxury side of things. So that’s, that’s definitely some of the riskier things that you don’t expect, you know, you’re like, Oh no, like. You respect all your contracts and run away or something like that. But now it’s like, you have to be kind of picky with the bars you choose as well. 

Diana: [00:20:39] Like who’s really good point that you brought up about the luxury market because those buyers are incredibly entitled and they think that something is owed to them. Not all of them, but a lot. And I think, I think some of them, I think what it is too is maybe they feel duped because they changed it. And they bought, they drank the Koolaid and they jumped in with 15 other people and bid the house up and then they have a buyer’s remorse.

And then they’re trying to find a way to come after you for it. And that’s something I’ve also heard is like, um, especially with investors, who’ve broken records in the luxury market like myself. I mean, I’ve done, I’ve done nearly, you know, a hundred projects. I’ve had one person come after me in 10 years on a hundred projects and it’s like, okay, But that’s why telling nesters don’t roll the dice with unlicensed contractors, even if they’re less money or not. I know a lot of investors who still don’t pull permits, which is a thing to me. You gotta make, like, if this is your career, you want the least amount of liability as possible. You want to, you kind of want to look at it like a chess game. Is there any way you gotta make sure there are no weak points in your armor? You know, So that’s, that’s the most important thing you want to make sure your armor is solid. Yeah. People are gonna poke at it anyway. Cause that’s how people are. But, um, but yeah, I mean, if you can, you know, as long as you have that, you know, I think you’ll be okay. Cause I know a lot of investors who’ve been sued for dumbest insane amounts of money and they would have been okay because they disclose everything, but then it came out and, you know, discovered that. Oh, so, and so wasn’t licensed. And so, and so didn’t call permits and that’s where they that’s where a lot of investors get nails. 

Bryan: [00:22:34] Yeah. That was also one thing I want to point out to you. It’s like, you know, you can get part permits and do everything correctly, but st. Tom is like, you have to be able to verify all your inspections are correct. The thing with inspectors is like, they’ll walk through your property. They’ll say you passed called months later. You have a situation where one of the screws is not screwed correctly. Causes a water pipe weakness in your property. So at the end of the day, it’s like, it’s all being careful, you know, like you may pass inspection, but your headaches are not over yet. You’re still liable, especially as a builder owner type of situation where you’re completely liable for the situation. Like that’s, that’s one receipt thing that, you know, I just want to point out to her, listen to her listening, you know. 

Diana: [00:23:18] That’s why you never want to flip in your personal name. Exactly.

Yeah. And then also when the city passes finals and you know, it does become a responsibility depending on your contractors and you gotta make sure they’re bonded and insured, but that usually falls on your contractors. And so a lot of times when people are coming at you directly, you have to have a really good lawyer to come back and counter and say, no, no, no, no, you need to be going after the contractor. And then. A lot of times, unfortunately, because you were the person that hired the contractor, you’re going to still protect yourself. 

Bryan: [00:23:57] Yeah. 

Diana: [00:23:57] Yeah. It is not for the faint of heart. It definitely is not. 

Bryan: [00:24:05] I think it’s very, very, very nice that you’re sharing, like all your stories that you learn, because I think a lot of people think about real estate investing. It’s like, Oh my God, you made seven-figures or you made eight-figures. Your life meets your life, but real life must be so great. You know, it’s all butterflies and rainbows and unicorns, but 

Diana: [00:24:25] no, not, no, not in the Bay area, but

Bryan: [00:24:34] yeah. 

Diana: [00:24:35] People making money on your grinding. Um, but yeah. No. I mean, I’m blessed. Like I love what I do and I do. And I, you know, my whole thing growing up is my parents. I’m the first generation. So my parents came here from another country and their whole thing was like, whatever you do, make sure you love it and you’re the best at what you do. So I have a lot of it. I have a lot of integrity in what I do, and sometimes I walk other rehabbers’ homes. And I’m like, what, man, you can just tell they’re in it for the money. That’s all they give us. And that’s fine. But I don’t know for me, it goes, it’s more than that.I get up every morning out of bed because something motivates me. Like it just, you know, I love what we do. Um, but yeah, I mean, the highs in our business are high and the lows are low and it’s how you manage the love. You know, the cream from the crop.

Bryan: [00:25:31] yeah, I agree. I agree with everything you just said, you know, like you just want to deliver the best product you can and what’s the point doing something you’re not going to do it well, you know?

Diana: [00:25:40] Absolutely. But you’d be surprised. 

Bryan: [00:25:44] So that brings up a good segue point to the next section is like, what is, what is your motivation? What keeps you going every single morning? What is your, why? 

Diana: [00:25:56] You know, I love that because I read Simon Sinek Know Your Why back in 2011. And like me it’s a great book. I love that. It’s just shifted my world. And, um, my why every morning is, I mean, the money’s a bonus, right? But you have to know, like, some people will tell you I’m motivated by money. I’m motivated by success. I’m afraid of failing some people’s motivation is fear. My motivation, I have to say is a little bit of like, um, I have a lot of anxiety, so I can’t like that channel. Right. So like a lot of people take, like, I don’t know what drugs are out there now for anxiety. Um, cause I don’t do those. They don’t do any of that. Like, you know, but I, um, I’ve always, you know, I’ve always taken that anxiety and channeled it, whether it’s like exercising every morning or I channel it in my work, um, I have a bit of a workaholic.

Hm, but what motivates me is just, um, the passion of what I do, making things like being successful at what I do, you know, having a design eye that people, that people like love, you know, I love coming into people’s homes and then being like, what do you think about this? And offering ideas and turning. You know, turning someone’s home into their dream home. I think that’s where I, like, I absolutely love doing that. It’s your home, but I’m going to make it your dream home and just seeing the look on their faces when you’re done with that is like, I don’t know that feeling is incredible for me. I love that. Um, 

Bryan: [00:27:31] I really like the answer that you gave, you know, like most people, when I ask that question, the podcasts are always like, yeah, I’m motivated because I want to live life on my own terms or want positive cashflow. I just want to travel. I just want to be financially free. Whereas the answer you gave me is a, Hey, like it’s about the buyer’s experience, you know, like how can I maximize that, feeling, that feeling of gratitude satisfaction. So that wasn’t the answer I was expecting to be honest, but I’m really pleasantly surprised, you know, 

Diana: [00:28:04] Don’t get me wrong. I love sports cars. I like the nice things in life, 

Bryan: [00:28:12] But that’s a byproduct of your success. 

Diana: [00:28:16] Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think money for me is not a status symbol. It’s it’s comfort, it’s security, especially in capitalist society. Money is definitely freedom. And so. But, you know, um, you know, I’ve always been taught that, do what you love and money will follow. And I never really understood that as a kid, but as a total, I totally get that now. Cause that’s what my parents signed by that. 

Bryan: [00:28:43] Yeah. And the funny thing with that is it doesn’t even matter what you do, as long as you’re passionate about it, somehow money will find you, you know, 

Diana: [00:28:51] and still true. I’m a big believer in the law of attraction. It though, you know, um, like putting that good feeling out there, I think. And I think people like, they, they feel that like authenticity, like they feel like, okay, you know, she actually gives a shit and, and that’s why I get a lot of referral business too. I get a lot of referral business that way. And you know, I’m really, I’m really grateful.

Like I just, uh, I’m always, you know, I always wake up and I’m, I do my little grateful mantras and, you know, I think it’s important to do that. Um, I think everyone in our industry is different though, you know? And that’s okay. We all have different motivations. It’s like you said, what’s your, why that’s my, why.

Bryan: [00:29:31] would that 

Diana: [00:29:31] be?

That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning? 

Bryan: [00:29:34] Well, that being said, like, do you have a morning routine that you follow strictly? Like when you wake up you? 

Diana: [00:29:40] Meditation. I don’t know if anyone knows Freddy Mercury from Queen, but his obsession with his cats is kind of like my obsession. So I wake up in the morning and I take care of them.

I feed them, make sure they’re all good. I do my gratitude mantra. I drink my coffee. My employee usually gets in at that time. And then we powwow and we attack the day and then usually I do a weightlifter or a spin class in the evenings, and that’s usually my routine. And when her and I work together, it’s generally like we’re either dividing and conquering or, you know, we’re, um, we’re on project sites together, figuring out what we gotta do.

And so, yeah, it’s been. It’s pretty cool. You know, it’s yeah. 

Bryan: [00:30:30] definitely. So I guess like before the podcast, I mentioned that I love the fact that you’re a strong woman and in the Southern real estate industry. And I think that that provides a lot of inspiration to a lot of our listeners. So I guess this part is it’s kind of unique towards our podcasts. I want to tailor it towards what kind of challenges did you face as a female? Real estate investment industry. And how’d you overcome them? 

Diana: [00:30:58] It’s funny. I, I still actually face it even, you know, I used to think like I just got to build a reputation and then that’ll go away and it never did. And it’s kind of crazy. You just, I hate to say you learned to deal with it because I think there’s gonna come a point where I’m going to say something back at someone one day. But it’s not your generation that does that. It’s a generation above mine. So it’s usually the older dudes. Um, but you know, I was, I was in a, I think the one that was most apparent is Ashley who’s my employee and I was in a, in a meeting and it was, um, interesting to say the least. And, you know, we’re there for the build design and construction side of things. And, you know, um, we couldn’t even get a word in because we kept getting talked over and you know, then at the end of it, we’re told, well, why didn’t you say anything? And then it was like, well, how could we, you know, every time we said something, we were talked over and then. One of the men goes, well, I hope you know, what a rain guard is. Cause I know what a rain guard is and it’s like, dude, I’ve been, I’ve felt like so many freaking homes. I know what a rain guard is. And I ended up. There’s a bitchy side to all of us in the bitchy side. And you want to be like, do you know what a rain gutter is? Because I know in a rain gutter as new a downspout is, that’s how ridiculous the question was, but that’s what we deal with. And then you can’t help. But think like if I was a dude, what I’ve been asked the same question? But it is what it is, you know?

And you just kind of, you take it with a grain of salt and you keep working and you just think like, you know, maybe that’s how they were raised and that’s what they think. And, you know, you try to try and be positive about it and just move on. But like I said, it’s nothing I get from the millennials. The millennial guys are awesome.

Like they’re very, uh, I think you and I talk about Sean Pan and some other guys earlier, they’re very humble and sweet and they come up and, you know, they’re really cool guys. Um, Even the bigger names in our business, like Raul Luna and, you know, they’re very supportive and awesome. And you know, you just gotta focus on that positive stuff. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of people out there who embrace women in our industry and yeah, there’s some of the old school guys who were, they’re not used to it, you know, it’s very madmen. 

Bryan: [00:33:31] Yeah. I mean, you did highlight some good challenges that you face, but the more the story is just ignore them, do your thing, do a great job. And you know. 

Diana: [00:33:43] that’s exactly it. And it’s like, that’s what you just got to do. Because at the end of the day, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You just gotta do what you do. And like you said, just kill it every day, crush it. 

Bryan: [00:33:53] Definitely. But that being said, what’s the most, what’s the best deal you ever, you ever fix and flip in your real estate investing career?

Diana: [00:34:03] Oh, God, there’s been a couple of, um, there’s been a couple like big ones that were like major surprises that just blew my arm out of the water by 300,000. And I’m like, how was that off? Which was great. Usually, I’m off by like, cause I’m very conservative. So sometimes I lost by 50 or a hundred or 150, but this one was over the top.

Um, it was actually my recent luxury design. My partner and I did in the Sequoia Heights area of Oakland. And I thought the air V on it, the highest-selling property in that area, was 1.4 million, but it was 400 square feet larger than ours. Um, so I thought, okay, well, based on that, we’re more luxurious, but we’re 400 square feet smaller. And Sequoia Heights is, you know, so I figured, okay. Maybe 1.2, five, we ended up selling it to 1.6, six. 

Bryan: [00:34:59] Wow. Area. 

Diana: [00:35:01] Yeah, we got, we totally broke a record and we bought it for 1,000,050, but we lived in it for two years. Oh, wow. 

Bryan: [00:35:07] I didn’t know. That’s crazy. 

Diana: [00:35:09] I know. And another amazing one and still, no, one’s broken my record and I sold it. I don’t generally sell the houses I rehab, but in this case I did, and this was back on 20, uh, 2017. I had a house in the Laurel district and I picked it up for three 50 and a short sale in 2014. I know it even exists anymore. Right. I think that thing is closed. And then I ended up selling it for, I put one 40 into it and then we ended up selling it for 1,000,032.

Bryan: [00:35:46] Wow. 

Diana: [00:35:48] That was great, yeah. So there’s been a few out there. That’s been my multi-unit rehab and sales have been really good too because of the cap rate. And that’s the other thing people need to learn is that multi-units are most focused on the cap rate. Value versus comp value. Comparables are very important because you also don’t want to be like, wait, you know, out in less deals either.

Meaning if you have a 60 minute and your cap rates get you. A value of 1.7, but the highest sale in that neighborhood is 1.5. You may want to reevaluate of course, what that is. Um, and it’s also really important to know what the cap rates in a certain district are. That’s really important like in San Francisco right now, 3% pretty common in Oakland, five and a half is now common. Um, when I first moved to Oakland, people were getting 15 to 22% cap rates. 

Bryan: [00:36:44] What is the Midwest? 

Diana: [00:36:46] I know. Yeah, so it’s crazy, but I’ve done, I’ve done a lot of projects where, you know, I’d say 90% were six-figure returns. Um, and then 

Bryan: [00:37:02] It is amazing by the way. 

Diana: [00:37:05] I’ve had a couple that were like, eh, it was okay. I mean, I’ve never lost any money on a deal, thankfully, knock on wood. Um, thank you. Um, yeah, but that’s why I say analytics is so fundamental because if you know your numbers, I mean, w that guy, the prophet always says, if you know your numbers, you know your business and that’s so important. I mean, I live off of spreadsheets. I have a spreadsheet for when I’m analyzing a home, when I’m analyzing a multiunit. I’m doing my budgets on spreadsheets. What are my contractors getting? What’s my material cost with my labor? You know, what’s my rough, what’s the interest in paying on hard money. You too, have to know all of your numbers. And when you have a tight eye on everything and you have strict guidelines, that’s how you make money. And that’s how you… because if you see an area that’s hemorrhaging or that’s off, you’re going to, you’re going to go to it immediately. But if it’s all swimming in your brain or on. You know, pieces of paper, how are you supposed to know that you have like five if you have three, four, five, six projects going at once, there’s no way.

Bryan: [00:38:12] Definitely. I think you bring up a really good tip too, for like this type of market, you know, and, you know, just, just give a date for our listeners. Today is October 31st, 2019, just in case we listened to a couple of months later. But, you know, I think you bring up some really good tips where a market is like, you have to have tighter control over your numbers. You know, like that’s the only way you’re in a survival market correction or a market downturn, you know? 

Diana: [00:38:44] Yeah. And even like, even like bad contractors, I know people who’ve lost everything because of a bad contractor. And if you have enough margin in there, you can afford some of those mistakes. I mean, they’re not ideal. Don’t get me wrong, but Hey, at least you’re still in the green or even in the black, but, but you know, I mean, I’ve worked with contractors that were unreal. I mean, scam artists, and yet I was still able to make a six-figure profit because the margin no big you. And that’s what I tell people. I’m like, That’s the thing is I used to do a lot of deals with a smaller margin, and now I’ve doing, I’m very selective about the deals I do, because if I’m going to work hard and spend this time doing it, you want to capitalize on it versus, you know, doing a lot of little deals, but some people have a business off of doing little deals and they kill it. They do really well. 

Bryan: [00:39:43] I think you also maximize your time too. It’s like, you know, you’re gonna spend all the effort you might as well make the most money you can out of it, you know? Because at the end of the day, the way I think of it is a flip of a flip luxury home or, or non-luxury or lower margin. A big margin is still a damn flip. It’s a lot of work and stress involved, you know,  you’re getting paid a lot more for your time. So I like that approach a lot. 

Diana: [00:40:06] Yeah, absolutely. I mean sometimes, um, when, when I present at speaking engagements, I always say, you know, go after I have like every now and then I’ll do, what’s called, I call it a snack. And it’s a deal that you can rehab. It’s pretty straightforward. No reconfiguration, you jump in, you do a quick rehab. It takes you three to four months and you walk away making like 80. It’s like, yeah. Great. That was awesome. You know? Um, so I don’t, I don’t, you know, shy away from things like that. I’m not too good for that. I love those kinds of deals. Those are great to have, you know, little bonuses to have. Um, 

Bryan: [00:40:45] I like the homeowner mentality you have to, it’s like, you know, you’re not, you’re not too good for anything, you know, just go out there, have some fun. And the day, you know, you deliver the best product. 

Diana: [00:40:55] I’m very dictated by numbers. Like a lot of investors. They get emotional, like Dean, there’s no room for emotion in our business. It’s like, it is what it is. I mean, the numbers tell you what to do. The numbers are either going to say, you can’t buy this house, but the numbers are going to be like, Oh, hell yeah, we’re buying this house. Or, you know, so. The numbers are the numbers that dictate my everyday life. Like that’s what I’m doing. If the numbers are like, Hey, your budget is going to only be this much money. So you better figure this out. Or, Oh, we have, we can have a little bit more than, you know what, I’m so tight on budget that I’m the opposite of most people. So most people are like, yeah, I went 20,000 over budget, or I went 10,000 over budget or. Gosh, one guy told me 90,000 

Bryan: [00:41:44] Jesus. 

Diana: [00:41:46] Now my last project, I was $40,000 below budget. So that’s what I mean by keeping your eye on the numbers because you find things and you’re like, well, wait, why are we doing this when we could be doing this? And then you’d be surprised 2000 here, 3000 there, it adds up in the course of six, seven months rehab. 

Bryan: [00:42:08] I can admit I have my fair share of, uh, over budgeting. Yeah. So

Diana: [00:42:19] It’s a big thing. Yeah. 

Bryan: [00:42:21] It’s pretty common. I also feel like it’s more like a, like, you know, emotional thing, you know, it’s like, Oh, I can handle 600. I can handle 700. You tell yourself it is okay. But that’s where things go bad because those things Apple was later. Oh crap. Over by 10 20 grand. Dammit. 

Diana: [00:42:37] Yeah. That’s why I’m always like, my spreadsheet is basically the rule. God. It’s like, okay, that’s my Bible right there. It’s a spreadsheet.

Bryan: [00:42:47] So yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s great there. You’re giving us all these tips. I mean, as, as we’re approaching the end of the show, like, I want to close out by saying I will close up a couple of questions. Like what did, what did you say is your favorite book that super inspired you? I know you mentioned one earlier. Um, but you haven’t been a different book that comes to mind to get to inspiration. 

Diana: [00:43:09]There’s a couple of them that were really inspiring. Um, good to great. Was a great book that I read. I love the 48 laws of power. I love them cause I’m big, I’m a big history buff and I just love anything. I love sun zoos, the art of war. I’ve been reading that book. Like I keep going back to it to like the last 10 years. It’s probably one of the most strategic. Books and kind of gives you a very realistic perspective on human, human nature and following, like looking at patterns.

Um, yeah, I just, those are some of my favorites. I know those are all old school books, but those are like seriously all my, and then my fate, one of my favorite podcasts is on the impact theory, the women, the women, and the men’s one. I like both of those a lot. Yeah, I’m a big, yeah, I’m a big fan of those guys.

And then, um, yeah. And then there’s Michael, who’s another guy I love following. He’s a corporate psychologist and was the psychologist for the Seattle Seahawks. But, um, he has a very interesting approach to things because he has a psychological, that psychology background. So he has a very. His perspective on things is just fascinating and they also kind of make you think differently, which I love.

Bryan: [00:44:32] Yeah. Those are really good suggestions. Like I’m like,  because I’m like, Oh wow, those are really good tips. Then you start thinking about, and you write those down. Thank you for that. 

Diana: [00:44:45] Good thing. You’re recording this and you just played back then. 

Bryan: [00:44:48] Exactly. Hey, Hey Diana. So how can our listeners find out more about you and reach you?

Diana: [00:44:56] Yeah, so, um, my new company is DG design group. Uh, my website is www.dgdesigngroup.com and my contact information is on there. Um, yeah. So, and then, you know, we also work with investors, but I know a lot of times we’re not so great for investors because we kind of heard there are there HRVs, just cause you know, we’re, you know, we do add a significant cost to things, but, um, I do get calls every now and then from investors on the luxury side. And so sometimes I come in on that side as a consultant, but yeah, it’s a lot more sense. Yeah. 

Bryan: [00:45:39] That makes a lot more sense coming. Have you been in the last three?

Diana: [00:45:42] So yeah, it’s kind of hard to jump in on like a, I don’t know, a million-dollar project, but, um, but yeah, so that’s, you know, um, that’s where you can find me so.

Bryan: [00:45:52] Awesome. Hey, I appreciate you being on the show. Thank you for your time. 

Diana: [00:45:57] Thank you so much for having me, Bryan. That was awesome. 

Bryan: [00:45:59] Definitely. Right. 

Diana: [00:46:01] Bye.

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